Facebook face-offs pepper divorce cases across India
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has not marked his relationship status as “married”. His wife Priscilla Chan has. He has no picture of them as newly-weds on his page, she does. It’s fine for the couple after the billionaire-founder of the world’s most popular social networking site tied the knot about a couple of weeks ago, but in a small town in Tamil Nadu, a similar “failure” by a man to update his “basic info” on Facebook is being cited by his wife as grounds for cruelty.
In Mumbai, a young couple stood in front of a family court judge last week. Their complaint against each other was that the other was always glued to Facebook. The judge reprimanded them, then counselled them. They finally admitted that they still did like each other, resolved to not “unfriend” and to give their marriage another shot.
Some marriages may get saved, but Facebook, which a recent survey in UK blamed for nearly a third of all divorces, is leading to a rise in face-offs in family courts across India too. “Facebook is fast becoming a reason why many marriages are faltering,” said celebrity divorce lawyer Mrinalini Deshmukh.
As divorce petitions get peppered with the mention of Facebook and printouts of web pages, the reason is not merely because couples spend more hours individually on the site, Deshmukh said. “Spending more time, especially at night before bedtime, with friends on Facebook or merely playing games on the site is no doubt eating into couples’ together-time or intimacy. More pertinently, if someone wants to have an affair or flirt, then FB is an easy place to do it. People also use the ‘friend finder’ to re-unite with school or college friends and some really unite. One couple opted for mutual consent divorce when her husband found his former love on FB,” the lawyer explained.